In the second of our pilot interviews we have an interview with Yago Aguilar, CTC Aviation integrated pilot.
I know what you are thinking, but this blog is called modular pilot? Yes that is true but it is good to hear everyone’s story, everyone you meet on your journey can add something for you to take away. We will all end up with a fATPL and share a lot of the same experiences.
Did you train integrated or modular?
I went through the integrated route with flight training.
Which school did you go to?
I trained at CTC Aviation. I started in July 2014 and finished the Wings ATPL integrated course in February of this year.
Tell me about how your training went?
The training was demanding but overall it went very well. The school gave me the opportunity to start in Hamilton, New Zealand which was an amazing experience. This meant I that I did both my ATPL theory as well as most of my flying out there.
I learned to fly in a Diamond DA-20. It was such a fun aircraft to fly and perfect for VFR with the large one-piece windscreen. I loved it because you felt very connected to the controls of the airplane, pretty responsive when manoeuvring. After finishing my VFR flying I then began IFR training in a Cessna 172S and that was great fun too. In fact I recall that quite thrilling initially because that’s the first time you actually get to fly into clouds! It was a chance to begin appreciating what it’s like to fly in deteriorated weather too.
From there on I moved onto the Diamond DA-42. I recall my first multi-engine flight being my favourite lesson in my training. Mainly because that meant I got to have my hands on something bigger and with a lot more performance! I remember that lesson vividly. Opening the canopy and immediately noticing how much larger the aircraft is and how you have a big engine sitting at each side of your windscreen, 2 power levers, retractable landing gear and a glass cockpit. I recall that first take-off epic! Applying full thrust with the brakes on, releasing the brakes and being pushed right back into your seat. I would be lying if I mentioned my colleagues and I all didn’t have a bit of a grin at first! It was an absolute pleasure to fly, very gracious and felt more stable than the DA-20 I learned to fly in. Eventually I got to my last flight which was my CPL LST. It was an intense period but the hard work paid off.
After finishing in New Zealand I then proceeded to the IFR phase of in Bournemouth, UK which took about 2 months. My instructor was such a cool character. I learned a lot from him being an ex corporate jet captain and really appreciated his advice and feedback throughout. I enjoyed flying around the UK especially because that was the first time I was flying in European airspace, a place I thought my future job would revolve around. The airspace is busy and you constantly hear the airline traffic on the radio which makes it more intriguing. Eventually I did my IR LST and went onto Upset Recovery Training in a Slingsby Firefly. That was the first time I got to really experience throwing an aircraft around the sky! It was awesome!
And finally I concluded my training in Southampton, UK where with a colleague we worked together in a Boeing 737-300 simulator towards our MCC/JOC certificates. This was my favourite part of training because that was the first time I was really sitting in the flight deck of a jet airliner, working as a crew with a colleague and operating a jet. It made me realise how enjoyable the teamwork aspect is of operating a jet airliner. The last simulator session I did was in a full motion 737-800 and that was fantastic! It sounded like the real thing and looked like the real thing and certainly gave the impression it felt pretty real too with the simulator’s hydraulics kicking in the motion. That was the most authentic airliner flying experience I had up to date.
Is there any advice you can give anyone?
Flight training is demanding so my first piece of advice I would give anyone that goes into it is to give it your all! It is constant hard work, a lot of study and self-discipline, but there are so many enjoyable moments in it. It certainly is a time you’ll never forget.
I know I did an integrated route to training, and this is posted in a modular pilot blog, but I have also met modular trainees who have joined me in the IFR phase in the UK and up to MCC/JOC training. And like myself they too have been successful in being placed with one my school’s partner airlines. If you’re training modular I would definitely advise you do your CPL/IR with a school that can provide a comprehensive package for you, one that also includes MCC/JOC training, and if they can even offer placement with an airline, then the better! CTC Aviation would be an excellent recommendation because they have many airline connections, unrivalled, and what you want as you finish training is to have the greatest number of opportunities available!
Furthermore, I would definitely recommend you pursue a higher education after high school. It doesn’t hurt to have a degree. I did a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering before starting flight training, not only to be a better pilot but also as a backup plan in the unfortunate event I were to lose my medical. The career of a pilot is dependent on your medical wellbeing. So it is really good to have something you can fall back on and that’s why I think obtaining a degree in something you like is invaluable. The years of university are also some of the best you experience, as they are both academically and personally fruitful.
Finally, enjoy flight training! It can be tough and it is a big financial commitment too, but don’t forget to enjoy all the great moments in it! Work really hard, and let that bring you results!
How long did you wait after qualifying to get a job offer?
I was fortunate to be called for a selection with easyJet just 2 weeks after I finished my training. And it’s a great pleasure to say I’ll be joining them as a First Officer in June on the Airbus A320 fleet!
What made you want to be a pilot?
It was an accumulation of many experiences I’ve had since I was kid. I’ve always been fascinated with aviation, especially commercial aviation from having travelled many times as a passenger. I still get that slight rush of excitement when I board an airplane. The more I got to experience flying the more I liked it. I took a trial lesson at a Dutch aerodrome back in 2008 and I loved it. And I think my ultimate determination in wanting to become a pilot came to me once I experienced that same year what it’s like to be in the controls of a jet airliner. A close friend of the family was a 737-800 pilot at the time and knew I loved flying and was considering it as a career. He invited me in that year of 2008 to a full motion simulator of the 737 and allowed me to do a few take-offs and landings. That, was certainly the moment where I realised I really wanted to become a pilot. I was mesmerised by the experience, of what it’s like to be in command of that, and realised I strongly wanted pursue the career of an airline pilot.
If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
I don’t think I would do it any different. Maybe only one thing I would change would be where I stayed in New Zealand. My school offered excellent accommodation nearby the airport that is great for flight training, as you want to be close to the airport. However, there is no other option, but if I could have had the choice to also live in a city during the time, I would have. I enjoy getting to know people from different backgrounds, learning about new cultures and experience the local life a country has to offer.
Do you have anything else you would like to add?
I think that’s about it. I hope hearing about my experience and advice helps, and answers any questions. It’s been a pleasure for me to share my experience. At the moment I am preparing things for my upcoming Type Rating course and what’s ahead. Being extremely busy in the process and distracted, having done this has allowed me to reminisce the beautiful moments I had in my training. I would like to wish all the best of luck to anyone that pursues this profession, and while flight training is hard work, to savour every bit of it! Enjoy the ride!
Congratulations to Yago on his employment with easyJet and after just two weeks of finishing his course! I hope you have all enjoyed his story, if you would like to contribute yours you can contact me.